My truck is ‘new’ to me, but is a 1999 model. I’m a student trying to nurse a couple of years out of it, but I’m puzzled by the rust I’ve found. Made one trip to a paint shop and they wanted more than I paid for a running truck to ‘clean’ up the paint work. It was like the guy had to explain to me carefully that my truck has rust. I don’t have his kind of budget. What is affordable, and more of a Band-Aid solution? The running gear and the interior are in pretty good shape, it hasn’t been in accidents, but the wheel wells are pretty rough. I cannot figure out how the rust got inside there. Why don’t they build them better than that?
Welcome to ‘Progress’. The automakers figured out how to build for less money, adding to their bottom line. The 1 piece steel system was abandoned in the 1980’s. They found the double wall construction more cost affordable. The main problem is that the cementing compound used to ‘glue’ it together breaks down over time. You experience capillary action which draws water up and inside, which rots out the wheel wells. You have 3 options. One is to ignore it and drive it. Option #2 is to ‘fix’ it. You have to cut it all out, and weld in replacement metal. This is going to probably cost you $1500 and for a rig of that vintage isn’t likely worthwhile. Option #3 is to ‘hide’ it. You see after-market chrome wheel wells all over town. One of our customers said he paid around $150 for them online, and then just screwed them onto his vehicle. They come in varying widths, and he bought the widest one he could find. He said by the time the rust made its way to the edge he would be working, and ready for a new car. You asked about a ‘band-aid’ solution, and this might last until you graduate! Have the winter rockchips touched up to keep the paint looking decent, but forget the wheel wells. It ain’t worth it!